Bejan Saeedi is an MD-PhD student at Emory University. Prior to matriculating, he was a research technician for four years. During that time, the mentorship and guidance he received from faculty, post-docs, students and staff gave him both the desire and opportunity to pursue a career in academic research. Always astounded by the willingness of physicians, physician-scientists, and scientists to open their doors and discuss their experiences, Bejan sought a venue to preserve those stories and share them with the broader scientific community. With fellow MD-PhD students Joe Behnke, Carey Jansen, and Michael Sayegh, he started this podcast – Behind the Microscope – in August of 2019. Bejan completed his PhD in the lab of Dr. Andrew Neish in the spring of 2020 and is now wrapping up his 3rd year medical clerkships. In his spare time he loves running, adventuring outdoors with his wife and dogs, and playing mandolin.

Joe Behnke is a sixth year MD/PhD student whose thesis research is focused on modeling traumatic injury in Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) as a means to understand the long-term consequences of mild head injury. Joe is an Executive Producer and Co-Creator for Behind the Microscope, and is responsible for generating content and post-production. In his spare time, Joe is an avid golfer, amateur pizzaiolo and James Bond enthusiast. Be sure to check out his pizza adventures on Instagram @dr.pizzaiolo.

Carey Jansen is an MD/PhD student, occasional foodie, and new mom. In her PhD, she studies the mechanisms of immune infiltration and organization in human cancers. Carey is passionate about science communication, mentoring younger students, and helping foster a spirit of community and collaboration amongst aspiring scientists, physicians, and physician-scientists. She serves as an Executive Producer for Behind the Microscope, and focuses on outreach, social media, and communications for the podcast. In her spare time, you may often find Carey in the stands at an Atlanta Braves baseball game or adventuring her standard poodle, Smoltz! 

Michael Sayegh is a sixth year MD/PhD student. As an Executive Producer of Behind the Microscope, Michael is responsible for generating content and scheduling interviews. 

Blog Contributors

Emma D’Agostino is a medical writer in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her PhD in biochemistry at Emory University, specializing in structure-based drug design. She received her undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry from UNC Chapel Hill (Go Heels!). She believes that science can be accessible to all with the right analogy. Outside of work, she is a patient advocate with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and a consumer representative with the FDA, and is passionate about using her scientific knowledge to benefit patient communities. She has spent the last year isolated with her two feline roommates and spends her spare time horseback riding and scheming to acquire more animals.

Hannah Turbeville is an otolaryngology resident at the University of Michigan. She received her MD and PhD from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where her research focused on the long-term effects of preeclampsia and the therapeutic potential of sildenafil in reducing chronic disease risk. She previously graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science, where she completed a thesis project on the diagnosis of prostate cancer using circulating serum markers. She has held a number of leadership roles, most recently serving as the President of the American Physician Scientists Association from 2020-2021. In various leadership capacities for the organization since 2016, she has coordinated or assisted with numerous events and initiatives, including the 2019 Physician Scientist Trainee Diversity Summit. She is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society and a recipient of several awards including the Robert A. Mahaffey, Jr. Memorial Award, the Caroline tum Suden/Francis A. Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award and was a finalist for the Portland Press Predoctoral Research Recognition Award. She is looking forward to the next stage of her training as a surgeon scientist in Ann Arbor with her husband Patrick and German Shepherd dog Zeus.

Namita Mathew is an MD student at Emory University. She graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in biology and psychology, and throughout her undergraduate career has acted as a peer mentor and a community service leader for initiatives focused on educational advocacy. She hopes to continue her involvement in mentorship as well as promote open dialogues about the trainee experience. In her free time, she enjoys learning to play instruments, exploring trails/picnic spots in the city, and catching up on the latest Netflix shows.

Raven Peterson is finishing their PhD at Emory University, conducting research focused on cell adhesion with an interest in cell/material interactions. In addition to research, they are passionate about science education and communication and they believe that talking about the history of scientific discovery is a critical part of creating social change. They are also a strong advocate for peer mentorship and enjoys working with graduate and undergraduate students to develop scientific and professional skills. In their free time, they enjoy reading, cooking, sculpting, and metal working. 

Art & Illustration

Sarah Hunter-Chang is a PhD student studying the role of axonal spheroids in neurodegeneration at the University of Virginia. She received her BSc in neuroscience and behavioral biology from Emory University in 2018, after which she worked as a research technician for two years. She is dedicated to outreach and inclusion in science, in line with her beliefs that art can diversify access to research, that good mentors exponentially create good mentors and, therefore, good science, and that anyone who can bake cookies can probably also do molecular biology. When not in the lab or working on the next Behind the Microscope illustration, Sarah can usually be found crashing through the woods on a trail run or finding new ways to put cereal in dessert.

Associate Producers

Josh Owens is a PhD candidate at Emory University in the Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis program. I am under the guidance of Dr. Rheinallt Jones studying how microbes can impact immune responses in the setting of colorectal cancer. I am passionate about mentorship and believe this is the greatest factor in whether scientists will become burnt out and leave academia. My goal in my career is to keep the conversation ongoing, because as a scientific community, we can always improve. Outside of science, I am a husband, ultra-runner, woodworker, and a garden enthusiast.


Nusaiba Baker was born in Fresno, California to a Mexican immigrant and an Iraqi immigrant. She attended the Johns Hopkins University, where she double majored in Neuroscience and Molecular and Cellular Biology. She was also accepted into the dual BS/MS program, where she received her Masters in Biology by the age of 20. Fascinated by research and inspired by the intellect and insight she saw in MD/PhD mentors at Johns Hopkins, Nusaiba decided to pursue an MD/PhD at Emory University. She completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech in March 2020 dually advised by Dr. Edward Botchwey and Dr. Andrew Neish. Nusaiba is now back in her 3rd year of medical school, completing clinical clerkships. In her free time, she enjoys adventures with friends, walks on the Beltline, and having quarantine-friendly dance parties. 

Faculty Advisors

Brian Robinson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and works as a Gastrointestinal Pathologist in Emory’s Division of Anatomic Pathology. As a physician-scientist with extensive training in gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology, Brian is interested in understanding how developmental signaling pathways, particularly ROS-related signaling pathways, influence epithelial homeostasis in the intestine and contribute to tumorigenesis. Brian is enthusiastic about academic medicine, and is passionate about engaging young students and trainees towards understanding the process of science so that they are equipped to drive future advances. When not in lab, or working in the hospital, Brian enjoys playing Baseball with his wife and two kids, playing guitar, eating Pizza, and jogging with friends.